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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 February 28 - March 6  > Japan lags behind international community in gender equality
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2018 February 28 - March 6 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Japan lags behind international community in gender equality

March 6, 2018
March 8 is International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrating women’s movements that started in the early 1900s to demand voting rights, gender equality, peace, and a better life for all. In Japan, this year marks 95 years since the first IWD rally took place. How far has gender equality been achieved in the nation?

In 1988, seeking to prevent discrimination against women in the workplace, the Act on Securing, Etc. of Equal Opportunity and Treatment between Men and Women in Employment, also known as the Equal Employment Opportunity Law, was established. While more and more women entered the workforce in various industries, gender inequality at work still continues and has even increased.

The government statistics show that among women workers, 60% are working as non-regular workers. The percentage of women out of those who are in managerial positions in the corporate sector stands only at 10%. In addition, 40% of corporations do not have even one woman executive. The pay gap between men and women remains unchanged as shown by the fact that women working as regular full-time workers earn 30% less than men.

Furthermore, shortages in public day nurseries and a corporate culture of excessively long working hours make it difficult for not only women but also men to balance work and home responsibility.

The government data indicates that the number of children on waiting lists for admission to public day-care centers reached 26,000 in 2017. In the same data, Japanese men spent only one hour a day doing household work and childcare while men in America and Germany used two hours and 53 minutes and three hours, respectively.

As a result, Japan ranked 114th among 144 countries in the World Economic Forum’s global gender equality rankings for 2017.

Japanese Communist Party Vice Chair and Women Commission Chair Hiroi Nobuko pointed out that Japan has yet to establish social rules, such as the selective use of separate surnames, which are necessary to guarantee people’s constitutional right to equality between men and women.

In addition, Hiroi criticized the Japanese government for turning its back on recommendations for improvement issued by the UN Committee on Discrimination against Women, the ILO, and other international agencies and organizations. Hiroi expressed her determination to work hard to press the government to fulfill its responsibility to create a society which ensures human dignity for all citizens.

Past related articles:
> Japanese women call for ‘No War’ on International Women’s Day [March 10, 2017]
> Women’s NGOs urge gov’t to implement recommendation by UN panel on elimination of gender discrimination [March 9 & 11, 2016]
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